King’s Lynn Greyfriars Academy and Rosebery School pupils to dress up as elves in festive fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research charity
Pupils at two West Norfolk schools will be getting into the festive spirit next month when they dress up as elves in support of the charity Brain Tumour Research.
Students at King’s Lynn-based Greyfriars Academy, in London Road, and the Rosebery School, in Field Lane, are being asked to make a small donation in return for being able to turn up to class in full elf costumes on December 10.
The idea for the dress-up snowballed from nine-year-old Oliver Napthen’s desire to take part in Wear A Christmas Hat Day for Brain Tumour Research, a charity his family has supported since his father was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2019.
Father-of-three Robin Todhunter – who also helped raise fiancé Kia Napthen’s son, Calum, 19 and two daughters, Amy, 17 and Rosebery pupil Danielle, 15 – died in January 2020, just weeks after turning 50.
Kia, with whom Robin had son Oliver, a pupil at Greyfriars, said: “When we’ve done Wear A Hat Day before, the kids have gone to school in elf hats so we wanted to keep to the Christmas theme and thought why not use Wear a Christmas Hat Day as an excuse to wear the whole elf outfit? Oliver loves dressing up and is going to look so cute.”
Robin was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) after suffering with debilitating migraines for about seven weeks.
He underwent a successful debulking surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, but his tumour grew back and radiotherapy and chemotherapy proved unsuccessful. Despite being given a prognosis of 12 to 18 months, he died six months later.
Marketing advisor Kia, whose journey with Robin’s illness has inspired her to retrain as a nurse, said: “We don’t want other families to go through what we have – there’s no cure for brain tumours so we want to help fund research to stop other children from losing those they love. It might sound funny but we also feel like we’re keeping part of him alive by doing it.”
The 36-year-old, of Beechan Drive, King’s Lynn, described Robin as a "lively character and a bit of a joker" and said he had "a lot of friends", with more than 300 mourners attending his funeral last year.
She is currently preparing a memory book for Oliver to look back at when he is older "to see in years to come what’s been done in his dad’s memory".
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We absolutely love this take on our Wear A Christmas Hat Day and think it’s fabulous to have so many children getting involved in Robin’s memory. Our official event doesn’t take place until December 17 so there’s still plenty of time for anyone wanting to take part to get involved – all the information is available on our website at www.braintumourresearch.org.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To support Oliver’s festive fundraiser, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Kia-Napthen3.